"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Until the restitution of all things” August 2016 part 4
From time to time I have heard preachers say in their sermons “many were sent, but some just went.” This sounds simple enough, but there is truth behind it. I have remarked from the pulpit many times that while God is preparing a ministry, he is also preparing a people to receive that ministry; and that is why timing is so important. In this fourth part of our study we will delve into the dynamics of a “God ordered ministry.” A valid ministry must be endorsed by God through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit. Here is a fact that I am always mindful of. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” Acts 2:22.
Another trade mark of a God-sent ministry is mirrored here: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10: 38. Ladies and Gentlemen! Besides this, there is no law! Outside of the Divine framework orchestrated and ministered by the Holy Ghost, there can be no authentic ministry. As preachers, we don’t need to carry a brief case full of official documents showing all the details of our biblical training, especially when we graduated from bible college. Nevertheless, we must carry (within the ministry itself) endorsements from the Lord himself. We must be given a mandate by which we serve with the authority of him who issues the mandate. (In this particular scenario, the disciple becomes as his lord.) Matthew 10: 25a. Let us examine a classic example in scripture upon which we can stand in confidence.
In the following passage of scripture, we will notice to what extent our ministry to creation reaches. “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose so ever sins ye remit, they shall be emitted unto them; and whose so ever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:21-23. In good conscience, tell me when last you sat in your local Assembly and heard the preacher offer a sermon on the fact that we were given command and the authority to remit sins and to retain sins.
To the best of my knowledge it is only the Roman Catholic Church that trains their clergymen to grant absolution of sins. In reflecting upon the authority of the ministry given to us, Jesus taught the following: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. It is obvious that God has invested just about all of his kingdom’s interest in a people here on this earth. That is why, Jesus in his parable of the nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, gave talents to his servants and said “Occupy until I come.” Sometimes I like to say to the church: “We sing—he’s got the whole world in his hands; but if you want to see his hands simply stretch out your hands and take a look; for then you will be seeing God’s hands. We used to sing in West Palm Beach, Florida: “Stretch forth your hands and heal the nations: speak forth the word and give them life. This is the day that God has chosen; and as he is so are we in this world.”
What can we extrapolate from the statement of Christ in John 20: 21? Reading the bible and studying the bible are two different exercises in the true sense of the word. So in these series we are not simply reading the bible: we are studying it. Jesus laid out before us an equation with a parallel line between himself and us. “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” There is no lower tier or even subordinate mandate inferred in the words of Christ. To the contrary, Jesus placed the ministry of the disciple on an equal footing as his own.
But even before this event and moment in time, Jesus a long time before, demonstrated the inclusion of us in the ministry of salvation and deliverance on the earth. As Jesus entered into a ship and came into his own city, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick man: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? So which is easier?
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.” Matthew 9:1-6. The main point in this scenario that seemingly, has been missed or overlooked across the wide field of the religious terrain is the fact that Jesus did not forgive the man’s sins as the Son of God. That would leave the matter in the realm of the Divine. But in saying “the Son of man” Christ immediately lowered the bar and changed the narrative from being a heavenly concern and act, to one that would include “MAN.” The Lord brought the act of forgiving sins from the portals of glory and the heavenly throne; down to earth and laid the possibility (and responsibility as a ministry) at the very feet of mankind.
The church has opted for a milder version of forgiving sins. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive your trespasses. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:12,14, 15. Whenever I minister on “The Three Levels of Forgiveness” I usually suggest that many try to practice forgiving others, not as a ministry that is required of the Lord, but simply to save their own souls.
The act of forgiveness as demonstrated by Christ in Matthew 9 opened the door and it served as a template and cursor for the total ministry which he later commanded in John 20: 21-23. Let us showcase a man who did not get the true meaning of forgiveness. I like to emphasize in sermons that having your sins forgiven is no guarantee that you have learned the art and true meaning of forgiveness. Jesus offered a parable of the kingdom of heaven, and likened it unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. Let’s see how Christ painted this picture.
“But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him saying, Lord have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” Having gone to the brink of losing all, he obtained mercy in so much that the entire debt was forgiven. One would think that a new climate and a heart of forgiveness were born to this servant. As far as logic goes, this servant having been forgiven so much should afterward possess a willingness to forgive, himself having become a recipient of forgiveness.
“But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. Some commentators of scripture suggest that the servant owed his lord several million dollars: whereas if what his fellowservant owed him was to be calculated against Jewish money, the debt owed by the other was less than one million. In today’s lingo we can say that what the fellow-servant owed this servant, was chicken feed, when compared to what was owed to the lord. It should be calculated and accepted that having barely missed disaster, this servant should have walked away with a forgiving heart and one of compassion. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him in prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desireth me: Shouldest not thou also have compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses. Matthew 18:23-35. The lesson learned from this parable is being practiced in the lives of multitudes of believers through Christendom. Being forgiven does not necessarily mean that one has learned how to forgive in return. 3
For the purpose of this study, I want to press the issue a little further. Forgiveness, as far as we are concerned goes far beyond past forgiving simply to save our own hide. It should not be based upon the concept of self-preservation. It should be practiced as a ministry to the entire creation. As we move forward ministering to the needs of creation, we need to carry as our mindset the exhortation of Christ himself: “Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” John 20:23. In this context we have to consider the fact that when Jesus had good reasons to call for legions of angels, he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” So then, for me, forgiveness is not merely to save my own skin: rather, it is a ministry that is designed by our Father to help in ridding creation of all the sores and pain that constantly plague both humans and animal life. To breathe under my breath saying; “I wish I didn’t have to forgive you, but since that is the only way to save myself, I will reluctantly go ahead and forgive you.” This would be half-hearted, insincere, and calculated upon personal expediency.
As we have mentioned before, Christ our Lord has left the door wide open for us to step up to the plate (as they say in baseball) and continue the task of redemption as one with him. Let us look at this metaphor! A judge can grant clemency and commute the sentence of one in prison: but it takes someone else (possibly a lawyer and an official at the prison) to physically remove that person from the prison house. As we said before, Jesus Christ spent three and a half years laying the foundation of man’s complete salvation. Included in the process, was to select and train men who would be trail blazers, carrying the good news of forgiveness and life from the dead works of unrighteousness. Jesus did not feel, or assume to himself that the disciples to whom he gave power were inadequate or unworthy to accomplish the task just like he himself would do it.
Jesus Christ did not feel as if he was lowering the message and the ministry by handing it over to his apostles. First of all, Paul indicated that the ultimate in our salvation, is to be conformed unto the image of Christ. To be fashioned or made into his exact image. Because Paul understood this we read in Hebrews 2:11, 12; “For both he that scantifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause (because of this truth) he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” John in his epistle added: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he IS, so are we in THIS WORLD” 1ST John 4: 17. It is in recognition of our status in him as sons of God that Christ passed the ministry of restitution and reconciliation: and empowered us in his authority to speak as HIM. Thus, Paul was correct when he wrote saying: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2nd Corinthians 5:20. Thus, we see from scripture that the mantle and mandate of Christ now rests squarely on the shoulders of the sons of God. After all, we read from an ancient prophet that “The government shall be upon his shoulder.” Isaiah 9: 6.
He is the head and we are his body, but the head as a matter of true logic, rests upon the shoulder. We are now in the day of the Lord, when we are being awaken to the truths that are meant for this day. Many are now hearing the sound of the seventh trumpet (more on this later) and are sounding the trumpet in Zion. As we go forward in our study of this profound subject, let us picture in our mind’s eye, the entire creation waiting in travail anxiously and intently listening for the sounds of total liberation.
For good measure, let us offer the Phillips translation of our favorite subject among those of us who embrace and teach what is commonly called “Son-ship” accompanied by the message of “The Kingdom.” “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet is has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in the magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children (sons) of God. It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realized our full sonship in him.” Romans 8:19-23.
We have shared this before in previous writings, but at this juncture it is prudent for us to revisit it. Paul, writing to the Ephesians explained that when we first believed, we were given or “sealed” with that Holy Spirit of promise. This endowment was only the “earnest of our inheritance.” Otherwise called the “earnest money, or the down payment” until the redemption of the purchased possession. This is the same “first fruits of the Spirit” (down payment) mentioned by Paul in Romans 8: 23.
So the BIG PICTURE shows that the Holy Spirit given to us when we first believed was a promise; or a binding contract in which God entered with us, binding, obligating, himself as with a promise that he will return and redeem the purchased possession. I like to frame it this way: There is a “buying back” which was done at Calvary, and there is a “bringing back” for which we, and the whole creation are on tip toe, anxiously awaiting that glorious event. It is amazing, and even ironic that while the church constantly sets up creation for a continued non-stop burning in hell fire, where the fire never goes out, to the contrary, creation seems to know better than that and is eagerly, as if on tip toe, waiting to see the unveiling of the sons of God, which will ensure that creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. As we slowly move forward in this study, we will gradually see and understand how we are being prepared not only to participate in this grand event, but to be the main factors and moving force as ordered by the Lord. We are being placed in that grand place of operation by the Lord’s Divine appointment.
In His Service—Royce
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